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This is the second of our Cheltenham Festival 2024 Best Bets preview series, following on from our Stayers Hurdle picks.
The Ryanair Chase on Day 3 of The Cheltenham Festival may have lost the alluring spark of Allaho due to injury, however, the race looks to be an exciting betting heat.
Last year’s winner Envoi Allen is back for more but faces a tough race favourite in the shape of Banbridge trained by Joseph O’Brien.
We check out best Cheltenham odds from our partner firms, bet365, William Hill, Bet Victor, Betfred and Boylesports.
Banbridge looks to be a worthy favourite at 5/2 NRNB with Bet365, William Hill and Boylesports. He impressed many with his beating of the useful Pic D’Orhy in the recent Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton.
Banbridge’s record around Cheltenham in recent years is equally impressive having registered two Festival wins now.
Should take all the beating but the odds are not appealing considering the quality of the field this year.
The Henry De Bromhead trained 10-year-old commands a great deal of respect since winning last year’s renewal by 2 ½ lengths, beating Shishkin, which is no mean feat.
He seems to have blossomed since arriving at the De Bromheads and partners effectively with Rachel Blackmore. He stayed on brilliantly to get within a neck of Gerri Colombe at the Down Royal Grade 1 Champion Chase last November.
Inconsistency can sometimes be characterised with this horse, but his ability is unquestionable.
Our selection to land a second consecutive Ryanair at 4/1 NRNB with Bet365, William Hill, Bet Victor and Boylesports.
The Paul Nicholls trained Turners Chase winner has an impeccable record around Cheltenham, so it came as some surprise when he pulled up in a handicap there last December in his last outing.
No excuses were given except to say he made an error and was never travelling well. Not only that, but the gelding was also giving a ton of weight away and racing in atrocious conditions.
Therefore, a line can be drawn through that run. Ultimately, if you consider his highly impressive Paddy Power Gold Cup win (despite giving his followers and connections a big scare at the last) and Turners Chase win, he is most certainly in the mix here. 4/1 NRNB with Bet365, William Hill, Bet Victor and Boylesports.
Comes into this on the back of his Cheltenham Cotswold Chase win over 3 miles from last month. It was a near career best performance in his own right, but you have to question the quality of the opposition that day. Nevertheless, he certainly enters calculations on the each way scenario and 9/1 with Bet365 NRNB is a fair reflection of that.
Each Way Contenders
Fastorslow clearly is a major contender (7/2 NRNB Bet365) if he turns up. However, everything points to yet another showdown with Gallopin Des Champs in The Cheltenham Gold Cup, his most likely destination.
Conflated has not won since late December 2022 and often finds himself short on the occasion. There is some each way appeal at 8/1 NRNB with Bet365, William Hill.
However, the best value each way option may indeed be former Betfair Chase and Paddy Power winner Protektorat. He was outstayed by Shishkin in the recent Denman Chase at Newbury, but he showed encouraging signs by pegging on when he looked a totally beaten horse.
If he can reproduce his best form, the 16/1 NRNB with William Hill would not be the worst bet in the world.
Betting wise, this recently created championship Grade 1 race holds much more appeal since the announced exit of long time antepost favourite Allaho.
Banbridge is a worthy enough favourite although odds of 5/2 do not altogether represent his chances accurately in my opinion. Envoi Allen at 4/1 is for me a much more viable punt considering he has last year’s win in his favour. He has not done anything wrong this season and if Rachel Blackmore can get him travelling as well as last year, he could take some beating.
Stage Star and Cappodanno will be there or thereabouts whilst Protektorat improving could make his 16/1 the best each way bet of the race.
Please note all odds are correct at the time of publishing (1pm 16th February 2024) and are subject to change.